6.1-magnitude Aftershock Rumbles in Haiti

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Jan. 20 (UPI) — A 6.1 magnitude earthquake Wednesday struck Haiti, already devastated by last week’s 7-magnitude tremor, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The quake — the strongest aftershock in the week since the earthquake — was about six miles deep and roughly 36 miles from from Port-au-Prince, flattened by the Jan. 12 temblor, USGS said. It was about 26 miles west-northwest of Jacmel, Sud-Est, on the southern side of the island nation.

The aftershock triggered fear in Port-au-Prince, as it rolled through the capital for several seconds, The Washington Post reported. Less than 30 seconds after the shaking ended, the Post reported hearing a rumble, likely from another building collapsing.

U.S. troops, meanwhile, were stepping up aid efforts across Haiti, saying distribution points were being set up in Port-au-Prince and supplies would be delivered under U.S. and U.N. guard, the BBC reported.

As U.S. troops moved into the capital to guard convoys and food distribution sites, thousands of military personnel were stationed on ships and helicopters to boost relief and recovery efforts, the Post said.

The U.S. military has come under fire for its handling of operations at the airport in Port-au-Prince, with aid agencies and governments complaining of delays in accessing aid- and equipment-laden aircraft to help survivors because military flights had priority, several media outlets reported.

“We’re doing everything in our power to speed aid to Haiti as fast as humanly possible,” said Gen. Douglas Fraser, head of U.S. Southern Command.

Meanwhile, the United Nations has approved U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s recommendation to temporarily add about 1,500 U.N. troops to the 2,000-person contingent in Haiti for six months. Ban said the U.N. Security Council’s approval was “a clear signal that the world is with Haiti.”

Haitian officials say the death toll in the Port-au-Prince quake has risen to at least 75,000, the BBC reported. About a quarter-million people were injured and 1 million left homeless. Tent cities crammed with survivors have popped up throughout the capital.

Looting also is a problem as people break into stores to take what they can, either to use or sell, police said.

“There’s no way to stop the looting, but we’re here to try to slow it down,” said Louis-Jean Ephesian, a Haiti National Police officer “The biggest problem now is that people are trying to destroy what’s left.”

On Tuesday, the Paris Club of creditor governments, including the United States, Britain, Germany and France, urged other nations cancel debts to Haiti, as the Paris Club has done, the BBC said. Venezuela and Taiwan are the other biggest creditors.

Copyright 2010 by United Press International

Categorized | Earthquakes, Military
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